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Full text of "Lenox, Massachusetts bicentennial, 1767-1967 : historical souvenir and official program"

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p 1767 1967 * 






This Book is respectfully dedicated 

by the 

Lenox Shakespeare Club 



who, in 1905, helped to found the Club, 
and was the sole survivor to celebrate 
its 60th Anniversary 

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Old Town Hall 

New Town Hall 


Old St. Anne's 

New St. Anne's 




Paterson Monument (1892) 

Lenox in Snowtime 

Church-on-the-Hill (old) 

Church.on-theHill (now) 


Trinity Church, (old) 

Trinity Church, (now) 


St. Vincent de Paul 

St. Helena's 


Old Lenox Club 

Present Community Center 



'■' . ' :V-i ' .'."•: , 

Our Lady of Mercy Seminary 


Old Academy 1803 


* -. 


Foxhollow School 


Old Shadowbrook 

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Frelinghuysen House (1890) 

Lenox School, (now) 


Fahnstock Estate 

Eastover, (now) 




John Sloane Estate 

Cranwell School, present 


Patterson Villa 


Blantyre, (now) 


Stonover, (old) 

Stonover, (now) 



Wheatleigh (Music Inn) 

1 HI ii il J 

■«*■■ ■■■■■«■■■■■ ■■■■■ 

Peters Block (Old Savings Bank) 

Lenox Savings Bank, (now) 

jip!^ -IP 


Avery's Store, Lenoxdale 

Crystal Street, Lenoxdale 


i 7 6 7 • - - PROGRAM 


Sunday, 200th Anniversary Incorporation of Lenox. 
First Day Covers, Picturing Church on the Hill. 

MARCH 11- 

Saturday, Town Hall, 2:00 P.M. Re-Creation of First Town 
Meeting at Log Cabin of Israel Dewey, East Street. Sponsored 
by Past Selectmen. 

JUNE 3- 

Saturday, Bicentennial Ball to be held at the Curtis Hotel. 

JUNE 18- 

Services of Worship Based on Worship as it Was Held in This 
Community 200 Years Ago in Lenox. 

Date uncertain 
High School play. 




JUNE 25- 

Sunday, 10:30 A.M. Services Jn All Churches As Held In This 
Community 200 Years Ago. 

2.00 P. M. Mammoth Bi Centennial Parade, With Name Bands 
and Floats Starting at Church on the Hill and disbanding at 
Lee Road and Walker. 

George Bisacca, Marshal 

AUGUST 19 and 20- 

Bicentennial Flower Show Sponsored by Lenox Garden Club. 
Lenox Grange and Lenox Horticultural Society Saturday 3:00 
P.M. and Sunday 1:00 P.M. 

Information About Other Program Events Will be Published in the 
Berkshire Eagle and Carried by Local Radio Stations 


Old Bull Block (before fire) 


Amoskeag Engine Horse Drawn Pumper 

La France 


Lenox Engine No. 5 (1966) 


Corner Main and Housatonic Streets (1900) 

Hagyard Corner, (present) 



Aspinwall Hotel (1920) 

Curtis Hotel 


Center School (1895) 


Center School (1966) 

. :.. , ■ ■ ..■». ■ 

Lenox Elementary School (1966) 

. ..- 

Morris School (1961) 

Old High School (1909-1966) 


Lenox Memorial High School, Sept. 18, 1966 


Grace Methodist Church, Lenoxdale 


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Eldorado, Lenoxdale 




Tub Parade (1894) 

Liberty Bell Parade (1923) 

Old Grads 



Class of 1909 at the Bowl 


Walt Coakley, Walter Lewis, Joe Walsh (1925) 


i-i ;s " ; ' 

Elm Court 

Ripley's Believe It or Not 
Street Signs after 188 years 


Business District Wiped Out; 
Blaze- Spreads Through Town 


LENOX — Fifty years ago today the center of the Lenox 
business district was destroyed in a fire that killed six per- 
sons and did between $200,000 and $300,000 worth of damage. 

Easter Sunday Morning 

The fire is believed to have 
started by spontaneous combustion 
at about 1 a.m. Easter Sunday 
morning. At the time of the 
holocaust, other theories were 
set forth. A Pittsfield fire chief 
thought a defective chimney start- 
ed the blaze and some persons 
believed burglars robbing Klipp's 
Jewelry Store set the fire to cover 
their tracks. 

Because of the disaster, Lenox, 
which had never had a fire de- 
partment, started a volunteer com- 
pany. The present chief, Oscar 
R. Hutchinson, was named head 
of the company when it was 
formed June 21, 1909. 

The Easter fire burned out an 
area bounded by Franklin Street 
on the north, Hous atonic Street 
on the south, Church Street on 
the east and Main' Street on the 


The blaze started in the Clif- 
ford Block, the present site of 
the Clifford Lumber Co., Duffin's 
Hardware Store and Gift Gallery. 
It spread to the north and gutted 
the Mahanna Block, the only brick 
structure on the street. South of 
the Clifford Block, the Eddy Block 
— now used as a parking lot by 
William B. Bull Sons — was de- 

A shift in the wind from the 
southwest to the northwest saved 
the Lenox Library and the Curtis 
Hotel. Several parties of New 
York and Boston socialites were 
guests at ttie hotel for the Easter 

firemen said the 10 minutes be- 
tween Miss Mahanna 's call and 
Selectman Stanley's call was uspd 

to round up* a team of horses to 
pull the steamer. 

Pittsfield sent a steamer, a hose 
wagon, 1,500 feet of hose and six 
men to the fire. Chief Thomas 
Hayden led the Lee apparatus up 
to Lenox. It took 30 minutes for 
the 50 men, two hosecarts, a 
steamer and 1,000 feet of hose to 
make the trip. The Richmond Fire 
Department also responded. The 
fire wasn't brought under control 
until 4 a.m. 

Other Structures Damaged 

Besides the three blocks de- 
stroyed on Main Street, the homes 
of Joseph Regnier and Mrs. Rose 
Colbert, a blacksmith shop, an ice 
stacl^ and other small structures 
were burned. The homes of Mrs. 
Theodore Cowhig and Benjamin H. 
Rogers were badly damaged. 

Joseph T. Cowhig recalls how a 
garden hose was played on the 
steaming roof of his mother's 
house— next to Gregory's Market- 
to keep it from catching fire. 
When the inch thick board that 
formed the sides of the ice stack 
burned, he remembers, the frozen 
layer of sawdust fell away from the 
oiles of ice. But the ice didn't melt, 
VIr. Cowhig said. 

Horses Set Fr«*ft 

Horses from livery stables in the 
area were let loose when the own- 
ers feared their stables would 
burn. Sydney W. Tillotson turned 
loose 60 horses without halters, 
Cowhig' s Stables turned loose 12 
and Timothy E. Mahanna a few 

The next day Tillotson 's horses 
were found scattered as far south 
as Great Barrington. Cowhig's 

horses were found near the present 
site of Pleasant Valley Bird Sanc- 
tuary. Others were located on Oc- 
tober Mountain. 




AN ACT FOR Incorporating the Easterly part of the Town of Richmond 
in the County of BERKSHIRE into a District by the name of LENOX. 
WHEREAS it has been represented to this Court that the Incorporating the 
Easterly part of the Town of Richmond in the County of Berkshire will great- 
ly contribute to the growth thereof, and remedy many inconveniencies to 
which the inhabitants and proprietors nay otherwise be subjected. 
Sec. 1. BE IT therefore Enacted by the Governor, Council and House of 
Representatives: That the inhabitants of the Easterly part of the Town of 
Richmond in the County of BERKSHIRE bounded as follows, Viz: Beginning 
at the Southwest corner of that part of said Town of Richmond formerly 
called Yokun Town, thence North by the needle to the Southwest corner of 
Lot Number Twenty in the second division in said Yokun Town, thence East 
eight degrees South to the Southeast corner of said lot, thence North nine 
degrees east to the Northeast corner of Lot Number Twenty One in said 
Second Division in said Yokun Town, thence North by the needle to the 
Northwest corner of Lot Number Forty Three in said Second Division thence 
east nine degrees south to the Southeast corner of the same lot, thence north- 
erly to the northeast corner of Lot Number forty seven i in said Division, 
which is in the dividing line between the Town of Pittsfield and said Town 
of Richmond, be and they hereby are incorporated into a separate District 
by the name of Lenox, and that the inhabitants thereof be vested with all 
the powers, privileges and immunities which the inhabitants of any Town 
in this Province do or by law, ought to enjoy, excepting only the privilege of 
sending a Representative to General Assembly; and that the inhabitants of 
said District shall have the liberty from time to time to join with the Town 
of Richmond in the choice of a Representative or Representatives, which 
representatives may be chosen indifferently from said Town or District, the 
pay or allowance of said Representative to be borne by said Town or District 
according to their respective proportions of the Province Tax, and that the 
Town of Richmond as often as they shall call a meeting for the choice ,of 
Representatives shall from time to time give seasonable notice to the Clerk 
of said District of Lenox for the time being of the time and place for hold- 
ing said meeting to the end that the said District may join therein; and the 
Clerk of said District shall set up in some public place in said District a 
no:ification thereof accordingly; the Meeting for the choice of Representa- 
tives to be held alternately in the Town of Richmond and the said District, 
and to be regulated by the Selectmen of the Town or District where the 
meeting shall be held. 

Sec. 2. And be it further Enacted that the lots lying east of the original di- 
viding line between the proprietors of Yokun and Mount Ephriam, so called, 
notwithstanding they are not included in said district of Lenox, shall pay taxes 
toward building a meeting house in said District — til it is so far finished as 
the meeting house in Richmond now is — and settling a Minister in said Dis- 
trict; and they shall be exempted from paying taxes towards settling a min- 
ister in the said Town of Richmond; and the said Town of Richmond shall 
not have any benefit of any of the public lands lying east of said original pro- 
prie ary line. 

Sec. 3. And be it further Enacted: That all assessment of rates and taxes 
agreed upon by said original proprietors shall be in full force, and may be 
levied, collected and applied, in like manner as if this Act had not been made. 
Sec. 4. And be it further enacted, that William Williams, Esq. be and hereby 
is empowered to issue a Warrant to some principal inhabitant of said District 
of Lenox, requiring him to call a Meeting of said inhabitants, in order to 
chuse such officers as, by law, towns are empowered to chuse in the month 
of March, annually. 

ENACTED. (S) Thomas Chshing, Speaker 



1767 — Bicentennial — 1967 

Lenox, in the center of the Berkshire Hills, largely owes its history and 
development to its situation. Fear of Indian invasion and the trackless moun- 
tains proved a barrier to settlers from the east. It was not until 1750 that Jon- 
athan Hinsdale, driven by a desire for solitude, Left the growing town of 
Hartford and built the first log cabin in these wilds. To his disappointment, 
other settlers from Connecticut followed. 

When the French and Indian War ended, most of the families returned 
to their half-tilled fields. By 1762, a serious attempt at settlement was begun, 
when the General Court sold a tract of land including the present towns of 
Richmond and Lenox were included under the incorporated name of Rich- 
mond. This was only a year following the formation of Berkshire County 
from the great county of Hampshire. The central mountain range made the 
Township so unwieldy that on February 26th, 1767, the Act was passed for 
incorporating the Easterly part of the Town of Richmond into a district by 
the name of Lenox. The Act stated this would "remedy many inconveniences 
to which the inhabitants and proprietors may otherwise be subjected." The 
name was derived from the family name of the Duke of Lenox. 

The Town nestled in the Beautiful Berkshire Hills has a history made 
up of four main periods: The Colonial and Revolutionary period and early 
industry, lime kilns, saw-mills, brickyards, paper mills and grist mills. Then 
followed the invasion of Hawthorne, other statesmen and writers. 

During all of the great literary period the Courthouse and the Library 
remained the center of Berkshire life. Then by 1850 the rich and powerful 
Samuel Ward, American agent of Baring Brothers, London bankers, pur- 
chased and laid out a huge estate, north of Stockbridge Bowl, the first to be 
created here. Two brothers-in-law, W. H. Aspinwall and E. J. Woolsey, pur- 
chased large tracts covering a whole mountain back of the Church-on-the-Hill. 

In the quarter century preceding 1880, twenty six more property holders 
were added. In place of the old New England stock, a remnant of which still 
survied, came the summer residents and the caretakers of the great estates. 
In the last two decades of the 19th Cntury the exodus of the Yankee farmer 
went on, and in place of the modest summer home of Colonial simplicity 
came the more stately type of villa and chalet. Then came the Greek, French, 
and Italian mansions of palatial architecture, and the Tudor and Elizabethan 
Halls. In these years the number of large estates increased to seventy five in 
all. Some of these are shown in this Historical Program for the Bicentennial. 
Symbolic of its high tide was the completion of the Aspinwall Hotel on the 
highest point of the ridge which runs down the center of the valley, rising 
above the pines like a yellow and white crown on the mountain. The hotel 
was a great thing for Lenox, and its loss by fire, April 25, 1931, was a catas- 


trophe from which that part of the Town never recovered. This section of land 
has been bought by the Town, and is a part of the Lenox Park and Recreation 

During all these changes visitors of discrimination were attracted to the 
Curtis Hotel, which in 1829 had replaced the Wilson House, built in 1773. 
The Registers of the Curtis contains the names of famous poets, generals, 
Presidents, Cabinet members, and diplomats from foreign courts. Some of 
these returned to take up summer residence in Lenox. 

With the coming of the automobile the retrogression of the resort town 
set in. The heads of the old families were passing, the enactment of the 16th 
Amendment and the Income Tax made the young folk unable or unwilling to 
shoulder the responsibility for maintenance of a large estate. Shadowbrook set 
the pattern of what was going to become familiar. In 1922 it was sold to the 
Jesuit Order for a novitiate. In the following decades this trend continued 
with the establishment of the Lenox School for Episcopal Boys, Cranwell, 
Foxhollow, Windsor Mountain, and Bellefontaine. 

More recently Hope Advent Christian College has been added to the year- 
round institutions of learning. 

Three years after the Berkshire Symphonic Festival was organized by 
Miss Gertrude Robinson Smith in 1934, Miss Mary Tappan and her neice Mrs. 
Rosamunde Hepburn, presented their estate, Tanglewood, to the Boston Sym- 
phony Orchestra as a permanent home for the Festival. It was the vision of 
Serge Koussevitsky, the Conductor of that time, which has made the Festival 
the outstanding musical event of this country. 

During the Second World War activities at Tanglewood continued on a 
small scale, but at the end of the War concerts were resumed in the Shed. The 
summer population is estimated at 7247, and the probable year round popu- 
lation is about 5000. This is not a startling growth from 1946, yet it has doubled 
in that time. Under normal conditions, the population growth is controlled 
by the ability to provide jobs, and this includes the year-round recreation 
and tourist facilities. Eastover has been remodelled into an all-season attrac- 
tion, and parts of some estates have been divided into residential develop- 
ments. The Lenox Machine Co. and the Van Zandt Co. have made significant 
improvements in Lenoxdale. Predictions for full employment at the General 
Electric plant in Pittsfield are favorable. Paper mills seem destined to expand 
their business facilities, and new housing will attract residences of a subur- 
ban nature when there are more sanitary sewers available. According to the 
last Town Report, the Master Plan study of Lenox will be completed during 
the bicentennial year. There is a regional planning board which should pro- 
vide a great deal of help in the further development of Lenox. In its 200 
years, Lenox has continued to prosper under the Town Meeting form of gov- 
ernment. We have every reason to be proud of our past, and confident of our 



"WHEREAS, the Parliament of Great Britain have of late undertaken to 
give and grant away our money without our knowledge or consent, and in 
order to compel us to a servile submission to the above measures, have pro. 
ceeded to block up the harbor of Boston; also have or are about to vacate the 
Charter and repeal certain laws of this province, heretofore enacted by the 
General Court, and confirmed to us by the King and his predecessors; there- 
fore, as a means to obtain a speedy redress of the above grievances, we do 
solemnly and in good faith covenant with each other — 

First, That we will not import, purchase or consume or suffer any person 
for, by, or under us, to import purchase or consume in any manner whatever, 
any goods, wares or manufactures which shall arrive in America from Great 
Britain, from and after the first day of October next, or such other time as shall 
be agreed upon by the American Congress nor any goods which shall be 
ordered from thence from and after this day, until our charter and constitutional 
rights shall be restored, until it shall be determined by the major part of or 
brethren in this and the neighboring colonies that a non-importation 
agreement will not have a tendency to affect the desired result or end or 
until it shall be apparent that a non-importation or non consumption agree- 
ment will not be entered into by the majority of this and the neighboring 
colonies except such articles as the said general congress of North America 
shall advise to import and consume. 

Secondly, We do further covenant and agree that we will observe the 
most strict obedience to all constitutional laws and authority, and will at all 
times exert ourselves to the utmost for the discouragement of all licentiousness 
and the suppression of all disorderly mobs and riots . . . 

Thirdly, we will exert ourselves, as far within us lies, in promoting peace, 
love and unanimity among each other, and for that end we engage to avoid 
all unnecessary lawsuits whatever. 

4thly, as a strict and proper adherence to the non-importation and non- 
consumption agreement will, if not seasonably provided against, involve us 
in many difficulties and inconveniences, we do promise and agree, that we will 
take the most prudent care for the raising of sheep, and for the manufacturing 
all such cloths as shall be most most useful and necessary, and also for the 
raising of flax, and the manufacturing of linen further, that we will, by every 
prudent method, endeavor to guard against all those inconveniences which 
might otherwise arise from the foregoing agreement. 

5thly, That if any person shall refuse to sign this or any similar covenant, 
or after having signed it shall not adhere to the real meaning and intent 
thereof, he or they shall be treated by us with all the neglect they shall justly 
deserve, particularly by omitting all commercial dealing with them. 

6thly, That if this or a similar covenant shall, after the first day of August 
next, be offered to any trader or shopkeeper, in this country, and he or they 
shall refuse to sign the same, for the space of forty-eight hours, that we will, 


from henceforth, purchase no article of British manufacture or East India 
goods from him or them until such time as he or they shall sign this or a 
similar covenant." 

Witness our hands, dated Lenox 14th day of July AD 1774. 

Israel Dibbell 
Samuel Guthrie 
Lazarus Kollister 
Moses Miller 
Bildad Clark 
Iared Ingersoll 
Elisha Pangs 
Moses Wood 
John Adams 
Amos Stanley 
Timothy Wag 
Jedediab Crittenden 
Jesse Hollister 
Thomas Steel 
Oliver Belden 
Caleb Hyde 
John Patterson 
Ephriam Smith 
Edward Gray 
Elias Willard 
Allen Goodrich 
Alexander Mackay 
Thomas Landers 
Abraham Northrup 
Thomas Bateman 
William Maltby 
Luther Bateman 

Israel Dewey 
Isaiah Smith Jr. 
Samuel Northrup 
David Clark 
Joel Goodrich 
Joseph Hollister 
Isaac Bateman 
John Root 
Prosper Post 
Timothy Steel 
Noah Yale 
Mathias Hall 
Silas Blinn 
Paul Dewy 
Elias Willard Jr. 
Mathew Miller 
Ashley Goodrich 
Reuben Sheldon 
James Guthrie 
Jonathan Foster 
William Walker 
Samuel Whedon 
Jonathan Hinsdale 
William Martindale 
Simon Willard 
Caleb Bull 
Samuel Bement 

Lemuel Collens 
Thomas Foster 
Timothy Crittenden 
Isaiah Smith 
Titus Curtis 
Thomas Tracy 
Enos Curtis 
Joseph Dwight 
Rozel Ballard 
Joel Blin 
Moses Hyde 
Charles Mattoon 
Jehiel Hollister 
James Richards 
Ephriam Cary 
Ebenezer Turrill 
David Root 
Jacob St. John 
Daniel Keeler 
Stephen Crittenden 
David Hinsdell 
Gorden Hillister 
Amos Benton 
Ephriam Hollister 
Samuel Wright 
Jeremiah Hull 
Hehemiah Tracy 

John Gray 
Samuel Goodrich 
Zenas Goodrich 
Reuben Root 
Elijah Northrup 
Samuel Muuson 
David Clark Jr. 
Eleazer Barrett 
Rufus Branch 
Solomon Hollister 
Job St Leonard 
Uriah Cress 
Thomas Gates 
Samuel Jerome 
Thomas Benelict 
Charles Dibbell 
Gershom Martindale 
Titus Parker 
Ashbel Treat 
James Richards Jr. 
Stephen Titus 
Asa Bacon 
Hopson Beebe 
Caleb Culver 
Samuel Pond 
Elisha Osborn 
David Perry 
Enos Stone 



3 7381 0008 8832 2 

The New England Mind has found expression in two different Lenox 
Organizations. One of them of course, is the Shakespeare Club, which spon- 
sored this Historical Book and Program. 

This allows good men to entertain the hope, that separated from politics 
and the pursuit of the buck, from the melting pot in which we now dwell, 
we shall be permitted to mingle prophets, patriarchs and apostles who 
have shone in former times as the servants of God and benefactors of men 
and women. 

So don't let it be forgot that there was once in Lenox an organization, 
which might be called the illustrious predecessor of the fine Shakespeare 

Such was the Lyceum Club. 

From the EAGLE of January 13, 1841. 

The Lyceum was addressed by the Rev. Doctor Shepard. 

After noticing in general terms, a number of topics that might with pro- 
priety be discussed on such an occasion, the lecturer proceeded to discourse 
more at large upon the superior pleasure that a man of cultivated mind exper- 
iences over the progress that has been made in the Arts, Sciences, Education, 
Government, Ethics, etc. the honorable part borne by our own country men 
in this advancement, and adverting to the influence that the Bible had in 
forming our Government. That the human mind being the only thing that 
comes unfinished from the hands of the Creator, although containing the 
elements of perfection, needs unceasing attention, would we have it attain 
the sublime elevation of which it is susceptible. Animadverting upon the 
disposition of many to seek for the showy and unsubstantial ornaments 
of learning, without obtaining those useful and necessary parts that lie at the 
foundation of mental cultivation; like one who having a glimpse of the 
superstructure of an edifice, admires and determines to build one like it, 
without regard to the foundation on which it rests and for want of which it 
ultimately falls. That we have improved upon the systems of Education in 
Europe by divesting it of much of its tedious minuteness; for by having 
what is known condensed and properly classified we sooner become aquainted 
with all that is essential. So much is already known that he who makes him- 
self fully acquainted with all is not likely to have much time left for making 
new discoveries. As the scientific architect makes use of the labor of the ignor- 
ant in collecting and bringing together the materials for most beautiful 
structures, so by means of printing, the experience and experiments of com- 
mon minds are collected and preserved. That it is characteristic of the age 
to subject the discoveries in science to a rigid course of experiment. That 
after all, the science most essential to the well being of man and which has 
improved as much as any other since the time of the Ancient Philosophers is 
Moral Philosophy." 


1767 - - Bicentennial - - 1967 


Charles F. House, Chairman 

William D. Roche George J. Bisacca 

Mary Jane Bender, Deputy Julia E. Conklin, Secretary 

James H. Pelton Anthony Fiorini 

Helen Mac Donald Mary Mac Donald 

Anna E. Mitchell Joseph E. Martin 


Historical Souvenir and Program 

Marshall of Parade 


First Day Covers 

First Town Meeting 
Bicentennial Ball 

Religious Heritage Days 
Flower Show 
School System 
History of Lenox 
Bicentennial Plates 

Coletta Holmes 
William L. Hallowell 
Horace Harding 
George J. Bisacca 
Donald R. Grody 
Harold E. Humphrey 
Louis Nejame 
William J. Leary 
Joseph H. Nolan 
George E. Mole 
Edward G. Conklin 
Alexander T. Halpin 
All Ministers 
Anna R. Alexandre 
Raymond L. Trabold 
David H. Wood 
Marion R. Hollingsworth 
J. P. Kimball 

COVER DESIGN— Past Selectman 

Charles G. Stanley